Environment Forum

Coaly smoke! Green ire over huge India coal plant

April 11, 2008

coal2.jpgGreens are seeing red this week after the World Bank approved partial financing for a $4.2 billion coal-fired power station in India.

   The 4,000 MW plant will provide crucial power for millions of Indians, prove a much-needed boost for industry and use “super-critical” technology that will make it India’s most-efficient coal-fired plant.

   The Bank’s board approved $450 million in loans through its International Finance Corp for the Tata Mundra project and the IFC said it looked at many alternative ideas, including wind and solar, but found the giant coal power station was the best solution.

   The volume of emissions from the plant will be about 40 percent less than existing coal-fired plants in India but it will still produce up to 23 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

   And that’s angered environmental groups who say the World Bank is failing to help fight global warming by backing polluting projects. The Bank said using solar or wind for the project instead of coal would have been just too expensive to meet India’s vast appetite for electricity.coal-monster.jpg

  Greens say much more investment and willingness needs to go into clean energy to help poor nations prevent the polluting mistakes of richer nations. Otherwise we’re all doomed to face a warmer world with rising seas and more chaotic weather.

  But who’s going to take that chance and start backing giant renewable projects in poorer states to wean them off coal and oil? Or will the sharp rise in coal and oil prices generate the needed political and financial shift anyway?

   No one disputes India’s right to develop. But should lenders such as the World Bank impose a ban on involvement in future coal plants as a way to focus global investment on clean energy? For the Tata Mundra project, the IFC said coal was the least expensive option and that using solar or wind would have required billions in subsidies.

   

Comments
8 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Will the environmentalists provide constant power supply and running water (without which westerners live) to millions of Indians? Doesn’t it concern them that millions of Indian children cannot learn at night, because there’s no electricity?

Posted by Raakshas | Report as abusive
 

Does Greens want millions Indians should suffer because of no elecricity. My brother can’t run his computer training center because in Maharashtra’s small towns electricity is not available during day time. It is known that average Indian create 20 times less carbon emission than developed world citizen. Instead of stopping India from development if Greens could stop 2 hrs elecricity use by developed countries citizen it will have more impact. In india we leave without elecricity for 8 hrs daily on average so 2 hrs cut will not be bad for developed countries.

Posted by Rakesh | Report as abusive
 

There are other efficient ways to get power and keep it pollution free. Your brother and mine must get electricity but it need not be at the cost of polluting our world. Clean, efficient techniques are available right now. I am tired of hearing Indian businesses whine it is a poor country whenever the topic of pollution arises. I do not want to see Indians (or anyone)with choked lungs and other diseases or malformation simply because we refused to use the best available technology. It is time we started planning for the next 200 years rather than just for today.

Posted by Swapna Vora | Report as abusive
 

Nobody disputes that Indians need electricity. South Africa experiences an energy crisis too. I think the point made is that the generation of “clean” energy (which would not polute the evironment) should receive the utmost attention AT ALL COSTS. We have not even begun to tap the sun, the waves, the tides, the winds…

Posted by Ollie in South Africa | Report as abusive
 

I am myself a strong votary of green power. Indian economy today requires large capacity addition in power generation which cannot come from green technologies at competetive prices. Mudra UMPP is the type of project that can generate power from coal with least emissions. IFC has been wise in supporting this project since, by doing so, it has encouraged efficiency.

Let us also note that India has a serious plan of developing clean energy projects with the target of generating 10% of its total energy requirements from green sources by 2012.

Going clean on energy is a step by step process. Rome was not built in a day.

Every country, be it developed or developing has to do their bit. The Mundra UMPP is also doing its bit by adopting the most efficient technology.

Posted by Dinesh | Report as abusive
 

Aaargh! The world bank should be financing sustainable projects that won’t pollute the atmosphere!

 

It’s amazing when these structures are built. I always feel they are destined, eventually, for ruination. Here’s something interesting on what happens once such buildings fall out of use: http://gentrystyle.com/category/architec ture/

 

Dear Sirs,

Just take a look at this:

http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/forum/pdfs/ 2003/summary_03.pdf

http://commonhorizon.blogspot.com/

Thanks,

Gonzalo

Posted by Gonzalo | Report as abusive
 

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